flower arranging with kids

One week into December and whew the holiday race is on. The number of special activities and events for kids crammed into the month of December is really quite ridiculous these days.  I wonder, will they even remember it all? Or will they even remember any of it?

flower arranging with kids
First-grade Abby and her flower arrangement

That being said, I wanted to share with you one of my very favorite holiday activities of all times and one that I am really looking forward to this year.  When my daughter was in first grade, they had a craft day organized by parents and I had the chance to teach her class how to make small flower arrangements.  You can see the results in the above right photo.  It was so much fun!  The kids loved it and they were so proud of their arrangements.  I did not realize until later, but Abby placed her candy canes so that they looked like a heart.  I love this picture so much with her front tooth missing and wearing a cute outfit that there is no way I could get her to wear now. Priceless memories.

My son is in first grade this year and when the email to sign up for craft day came out, I dropped everything and hopped on to my computer to make sure I had the chance to do this activity again.   Fortunately I had written down instructions so I could easily remember how I had organized everything (thank goodness since my memory is not what it use to be). I thought I would share those with you guys in case you might like to try it:

Here is what I did:

  1. To prepare for the activity, I placed wet floral foam in small, plastic cups and added one strip of anchor tape across the top to make sure the arrangements would stay in the cups on the bus ride home. (See above left photo.) I divided up the flowers (red and white mini carnations and baby’s breaths) ahead of time and placed them in disposable drinking cups to make sure that each child got the same number of flowers. As an added decoration, I taped candy canes to floral stakes to be placed in after they arranged the flowers.If you were doing this at home, you could easily have your kids help with all of these prep steps.  I was limited by space and time and I wanted to make sure everyone got equal supplies which is why I had to do this organization ahead of time.
  2. Once in the classroom, I made sure to explain the steps before handing out any of the supplies through a quick demonstration. The basic tips I shared included:
  • I explained how the floral foam helps keep the flowers in place and provides water so they can stay fresh longer.  I emphasized that they did not want to crush it and to try and only place the flowers once so that the flowers could get plenty of water and stay secure.
  • I showed them how to cut the ends of the stems at an angle and remove any leaves as the bottom so the tips slide into the foam cleanly.
  • I demonstrated how to cut leather leaf fern into smaller pieces and then place it on the foam to cover up the mechanics of the design before adding in flowers.
  • I also showed them how to create a skeleton for a basic round design with one flower upright in the middle and another four facing out like a clock at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o’clock.  Then I explained how to go back and fill in around the structure with the remaining flowers.
  1. After the demonstration, we handed out the cups of flowers, the containers, and two pieces of leather leaf fern saving the baby’s breath and candy canes for the end. The first time I did this activity, I thought some of students might rush and place the flowers haphazardly, but every single one of them took their time in considering where to place the flowers. Much to my surprise, some of the arrangements turned out so well that they looked like they came from a florist.* A special note - the kids finished at different times and so we grabbed some paper for the kids who finished quickly to make cards to go with arrangements.  This time around I will ready for card making ahead of time.
  2. After they were done, we carefully placed the arrangements in large lunch bags for the trip home.

An alternative if you don’t want to spend money on cut flowers, you can also harvest evergreen leaves (or even just save the scraps from trimming your tree) and stems with berries on them to make some very festive centerpieces.  Just make sure to check on the toxicity of the plants if you have kids or pets that might be tempted to graze on your arrangements.

So hopefully in a couple of weeks I will have some new pictures and stories to share.  Happy holidays everyone!

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